A cookie is a piece of information in the form of a very small text file that is placed on an internet user’s hard drive. The information the cookie contains is set by the server and it can be used by that server whenever the user visits the site. Cookies started to be used 20 years ago, when the first browsers for the World Wide Web were created.
What IS NOT a cookie?
Cookies are not a virus, nor spam or spyware and it doesn’t generate pop-ups.
What kind of information does a cookie store?
It is important to clarify that cookies do not collect any personal data stored on your hard drive or computer, such as credit cards, financial data, photographs or any kind of personal data. Cookies contain some technical information such as personal preferences or data to provide custom information.
Web servers do not identify you as a person but as a browser. In fact, if you normally use Internet Explorer and suddenly open the same webpage in another browser like Firefox or Chrome, you will see that the site doesn’t recognize you as the same person. That’s because each cookie is unique to a web browser and doesn’t associate users.
Types of cookies
- Technical Cookies: They are necessary to provide the requested service. For example, they are useful in order to know if the web is being used by a human or a robot, if the user is anonymous or has previously logged in or to perform basic tasks for the right operation of the website.
- Analytics Cookies: These cookies collect information about how visitors use the site, for instance which pages visitors go to most often, the products seen, the language used or the time zone.
- Advertising Cookies: They are used to deliver adverts more relevant to you and your interests depending on what you search for, your country or your language.
First and third party cookies
First party cookies are set by the website that you are visiting and can only be read by that website. Third party cookies are set by an organisation other than operator of the website, such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc.
What happens if I disable cookies?
In order to make you understand what happens if you disable cookies, we show you some examples below:
- You won’t be able to share content from this website via Facebook, Twitter or any other social network.
- The website won’t be able to adapt the content according to your personal preferences. That is used for instance in online shopping.
- You won’t be able to access your profile in a website (e.g. access to your account settings or order).
- Online Shopping: You won’t be able to shop online. You will have to phone or visit a physical shop in case there’s any available in your area.
- You won’t be able to set geographical preferences such as time zone, currency or language.
- The website won’t be able to store analytics about visitors and Internet traffic, which could result in the web being less competitive.
- You won’t be able to write blog posts, upload photos, comment or rate contents. Also the web won’t know if you are a human or a robot publishing spam.
- It won’t be possible to show advertisements adapted to your preferences. That will reduce the income of the site.
Can I delete cookies?
Yes. You can not only delete cookies, but also block them as a general preference or in specific domains.
If you want to delete all cookies from a specific website you have to open your browser settings and there you can manage all the options related to that domain and delete the cookies.
How to control cookies
Here you can see how to access a specific cookie in Chrome (the information might depend on the version of the browser):
- At the top right, click More and then Settings.
- At the bottom, click Show advanced settings.
- In the Privacy section, click Content settings.
- Under cookies, click All cookies and site data.
- To delete a specific cookie, point to a site. To the right, click Close X.
Follow these steps to manage the cookie settings in Internet Explorer (the information might depend on the version of the browser):
- Select the Tools button, and then select Internet options.
- Select the Privacy tab.
- Under Settings, move the slider to the desired option and then select OK.
Follow these steps to manage the cookie settings in Firefox (the information might depend on the version of the browser):
- Select the Options button in Tools.
- Click on Privacy.
- In History choose the option Use custom settings for history.
- Then you will see the option Accept cookies from sites. Select it or not depending on your preferences.
Follow these steps to manage the cookie settings in Safari for Mavericks (the information might depend on the version of the browser):
- Choose Safari, then Preferences and click Privacy.
- Select an option in the Block cookies and other website data section depending on your preferences.
Follow these steps to manage the cookie settings in Safari for iOS (the information might depend on the version of the browser):
- Tap Settings, click on Safari.
- You will see the option Block Cookies. Choose an option depending on your preferences.
Follow these steps to manage the cookie settings in Android (the information might depend on the version of the browser):
- Open the Chrome app.
- At the top right, tap More and then Settings.
- Tap Privacy and click on Cookies.
- Next to Cookies, switch the setting on or off.
Follow these steps to manage the cookie settings in Windows Phone (the information might depend on the version of the browser):
- Open Internet Explorer, tap More, then Settings.
- Switch the button Allow cookies on or off depending on your preferences.